BizAv Trip Planning: 2016 Russian Grand Prix – Part 1: Airports & Parking
This is a post by author Dmitry Konovalov. Dmitry is general director for Universal Aviation Russia ndash; Khabarovsk, based in Khabarovsk (UHHH), which provides 24/7 coordination of flight permits and ground handling services throughout Russia. Dmitry is an expert on business aircraft operations in Russia and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This business aviation blog post is the first of a two-part blog on traveling to Sochi for the Grand Prix.
The Russian Formula 1 Grand Prix takes place May 1, 2016 at the Sochi Autodrome. In addition to the main race event on May 1, practice races will be held April 29 with qualifying races taking place April 30. We anticipate general aviation (GA) traffic to the area will be at peak levels from about April 27 through to May 2, with more than 400 business aviation operations.
If you are planning on operating into the area during this event, the following is an overview of what you need to know:
1. Primary airport
Primary airport for this event is Sochi (URRS) which is a 24-hour airport of entry (AOE) will full GA support services. However, there are significant operating considerations to be mindful of during the Grand Prix period, including fuel uplifts restricted to arrival only, and time permitted on the ground for most GA operations limited to one hour. When operating to URRS it’s recommended not to plan on a fuel uplift due to potential delays and effects it will have on your departure slot. Airport slots are required for this location and should be requested as early as possible.
2. Alternate airports
Recommended alternates for parking are Anapa (URKA) and Krasnodar (URKK), 168 and 117 miles from URSS respectively. These are both 24-hour AOEs with GA support services and credit available. These are also the recommended airports for fuel uplifts.
3. URSS parking issues
By NOTAM, most business aviation flights with passengers not recognized as VVIPs will be limited to one hour on the ground. This includes helicopters. Two hour stays are permitted for GA aircraft of up to a maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) of 75 tons or greater, and no more than six hours on the ground is possible for cargo flights.
4. VVIP parking
For VVIP operations, depending upon the status of the passengers and the company/entity they represent, longer term parking approval may be obtained. Operations permitted parking include:
- aircraft carrying heads of state
- aircraft with government delegations onboard
- aircraft of the Ministry of Defense or Ministry of Internal Affairs
- search and rescue aircraft and aircraft rendering assistance to the Formula 1 Russian Grand Prix in emergency situations
5. Drop and goes at URRS
Airport authorities are strict on enforcing time-on-ground restrictions. If your stay exceeds the time limit, airport authorities will inform Russian FAA of the NOTAM violation. In such cases fines will be imposed. While we do not know the extent of these fines, they could be similar to fines imposed during the 2014 Sochi Winter Games, which were in the range of 50,000 USD.
6. Fuel uplift restrictions
Note that even if you’re just doing a drop and go at URSS there’s no guarantee you’ll be able to uplift fuel prior to departure, which is why URKK and URKA should be used as fuel uplift locations. NOTAM A0098/16 specifies:
WHEN CALCULATING FUEL QUANTITY, FLIGHT CREW MUST TAKE INTO ACCOUNT THAT LONG DELAYS OF ARRIVING ACFT IN HOLDING AREAS AND FURTHER LEAVING FOR ALTN AD ARE POSSIBLE AS WELL AS DELAYS OF DEPARTING ACFT DUE TO HIGH WORKLOAD OF SOCHI AP. 9. IF POSSIBLE, FLIGHT CREW SHOULD NOT PLAN ACFT FUELING AT SOCHI AD IN ORDER TO REDUCE THE TIME OF ACFT SERVICING.
Unless you’re operating to the Russian Grand Prix as a qualifying VVIP flight, have Head of State status, or have diplomatic status, you’ll need to consider parking and fuel uplift alternatives to URSS. While drop and goes will be permitted at URSS, your time on ground must be kept to a minimum based on active NOTAMs to avoid repercussions.
Stay tuned for Part 2, which covers permits, slots, customs, and immigration for travel to Sochi for the Grand Prix.
Universal and Universal Aviation are not associated in any way with the Formula One group of companies. F1, FORMULA ONE, FORMULA 1, FIA FORMULA ONE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP, GRAND PRIX, and related marks are trademarks of Formula One Licensing B.V.
If you have any questions about this article or would like assistance planning your next trip to Russia, contact me at email@example.com.